The Government of Canada announced new Occupational Health and Safety regulations earlier today, introduced not only to further protect employees but to align industry standards with international practice.
The new guidelines will provide additional safeguards for federally regulated workers who use, handle and store hazardous products in the workplace.
"Every employee has the right to a safe workplace,” said MaryAnn Mihychuk
, minister of employment, workforce development and labour. “These new amendments will better protect workers from hazardous products and improve their overall safety.”
The changes are part of the Government's implementation of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).
The global structure coordinates Canada’s system with that of other key partners such as the U.S, the E.U, Australia, China, Japan and South Korea – all of which have already or are currently in the process of adopting the GHS.
“These regulations provide improved, harmonized and consistent hazard information that will help businesses reduce their costs and make compliance easier in Canada and abroad,” stressed Mihychuk.
The coordinated implementation of the GHS for workplace hazardous chemicals will also facilitate trade between Canada and its trading partners, reduce the compliance cost associated with trans-border shipments of products, and enhance the competitiveness of Canadian suppliers of workplace chemicals.
Applying an international standard to the classification and labelling of workplace chemicals will also strengthen the level of protection already in place for workers in Canada and will improve their overall health and safety.
Hazard information will become consistent between a majority of international suppliers and federally regulated workplaces, which will provide clear information on how to safely use, handle and store hazardous materials in the workplace.
The GHS covers all hazardous chemical substances and mixtures intended for use, storage or handling in a workplace, and communicates hazard information through labels and safety data sheets.
These amendments are in the five OHS regulations under Part II of the Canada Labour Code: the Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations; the Maritime Occupational Health and Safety Regulations; the Aviation Occupational Health and Safety Regulations; the On Board Trains Occupational Health and Safety Regulations; and the Oil and Gas Occupational Safety and Health Regulations.
The Government of Canada is coordinating its work on GHS with that of the provinces and territories which are also making changes to their own legislation and regulations. This coordinated approach to transition will ensure national consistency and will be communicated clearly to partners and stakeholders across Canada.